Money; Your Master or Servant? – Seeking God first
Jesus said “seek ye the kingdom of God first and its righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you”. Philippians 3:8 “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”
There is nothing worthy in this world to take the place of our Lord Jesus Christ in our lives, not even money. Money may offer instant solutions to life but it is temporal. Knowing Jesus secures your entire life. Do not be cheated by what you see and touch, invest in what will never run dry!
They say “The brightest flame burns the quickest“ Life in the fast lane is not without its speed bumps
Some stars who have encountered speed bumps:
Mike Tyson: He was one of the most famous boxers of all time. Despite making about $400 million over the course of 20 years, the former heavyweight champion managed to spend it all on things like Bengal tigers, a $2 million bathtub and millions of dollars of jewelry. In 2003, Mike Tyson was out of money and declared bankrupt.
Burt Reynolds: The Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run star was once the biggest actor in the world. After a bad divorce, a failed restaurant, and other poor investments, he had to declare bankruptcy in 1996.
Nicolas Cage: One of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors, Nicolas Cage at one time had homes all over the world, including a castle in Germany. In 2009, the IRS alleged that Cage had failed to pay more than $6.2 million in federal income tax for the year 2007. While Cage sued his former business manager for mismanaging his money, his New Orleans, Bel Air and Nevada homes were foreclosed and sold at auction.
Willie Aames: The former Charles in Charge and Eight Is Enough star revealed that he slept under bushes and in parking garages after going bankrupt and having his house foreclosed on.” At the very peak [of Eight Is Enough] I was making a little over a million dollars a year,” he once said. “Then suddenly there was no job, no bank account, no wife, no child. I never dreamt it could happen that fast.”
Luke 12: 13-21
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
This parable was not meant only for the man who asked Jesus to intervene in his dispute with his brother, but for all of us who listen to this message today. Friends, life is far more important than material things. Jesus emphasized our relationship with God by saying that we ought in foremost be rich towards God. When the richness of our heart and life is towards God, the management of our affairs and wealth has a godly dimension that instills discipline so that we are not carried away from God who gives.
Jesus says that good life is not synonymous to being wealthy. This is one of man’s greatest misconceptions in life. Satan capitalizes on it and steers us on a tangent to chase after wealth through all means and in the course lose focus on Gods purpose for us. Author John Piper says that “Money is both hazardous and helpful. What we need to do is to minimize the hazard and increase the helpfulness”. Money is just a tool made of silver and paper which we have given value called currency. We exchange it with what we value. What you exchange with money shows what you value with your heart. Jesus said in Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Marketers spend millions of shillings in advertising and enticing us to buy more of their products; packaged in a way to suggest that without these products life is incomplete, and we cannot be happy and fulfilled.
How should we respond to this pressure?
- Vs 15. “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed” Learn to tune out, concentrate on the one who gives the true comfortable good life. As you are, you are beautiful and complete living in a good relationship with God and doing His work.
- Vs 16-21 Do not neglect life after death it is disastrous. Planning for retirement and life before death is a wise thing to do but it should not come at the expense of your relationship with God. If you accumulate wealth only to enrich yourself and be happy, you have no concern for others, you will enter your eternity empty handed.
- Vs 18-20 Think beyond earth bound goals. Use what you have been given for God’s kingdom. God has surrounded you with people who need help, many people who have never heard the gospel, children who need good education, people who do not know where the next meal is going to come from etc. Faith, service and obedience are the way to become rich towards God.
The movement of your money signifies where your treasure is. If we follow your money trail, we shall know what your hearts priority is. Where your money goes your heart goes with it. You only exchange your money with what you value and treasure. Is money bad? No! Money only becomes a hazard when it starts to show you value things more that you value God, and it becomes helpful when you value God more than things. It’s just an expression of the treasures of your heart.
In the parable, Jesus saw more than the dispute between the brothers. He saw that the inheritance was deceitful to the man. In Mathew 13:22 The parable of the sower “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful”.
How does money lie?
- I am your life, without me you will amount to nothing. If you lose me, you lose the real meaning of life. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life” Paul said in 1 Tim 6:17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” Do not be deceived by money that your life will be joyous, no! Jesus said one’s joy does not consist on the abundance of his possessions. Take care and be on your guard.
- You just need a little more of me. This is a lie! The desire of much wealth awakens Covetousness, and covetousness is idolatry. Colossians 3:5-6 says “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming.” Money can be a big impediment in your life. Be on your guard, Paul said in 1 Tim 6:9 “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”
Is your desire and hunger for money and riches destroying your relationship with others and with God?
Some practical ways to live our lives:
- Be rich towards God– Do not treat yourself as if you were made for things and not for God. Being rich towards God is the opposite of acting as if life consists in the abundance of possessions not in the abundance of knowing God. Count God as greater riches than anything in the world.
- Use your earthly riches to show how much you value God. This is what the farmer failed to do, and he was called a fool. Do not be a fool before God. The issue was not his prosperity, the issue was God ceased to be his treasure.
- Ask God to give you wisdom. If God gives you riches, He will teach you how you can use your riches to express that He is your treasure and not your riches. Tell God to teach you to be secure in Him. You do not need better food and better drinks and more parties. If you party, party with the people you have helped with your generosity. Say with Luke in Acts 20:33-35 “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourself know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
It is not a bad thing when your “land produces plentifully” (verse 16). It is not a bad thing when your business prospers. It is not a bad thing to receive a promotion and with it a pay increase. It is not a bad thing when your investments increase in value. That is not the evil in this parable. This farmer is not called a fool for being a productive farmer. God knows the world needs productive farmers and profitable businesses. But the way he used the increase of his riches he gave no indication of being rich towards God. He kept building bigger barns. That might be ok — if you’re storing the grain for a use that shows God is your treasure. But what does the farmer say? Verse 19: “I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” The use he plans to make of his wealth says one thing: “My treasure is relaxing, eating, drinking, and fun.” That is my life. And the riches in my barns make it possible.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing, if there is no infinitely valuable God and no resurrection. That’s why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:32, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” But there is a God, and there is a resurrection. So, what’s wrong with this man’s way of handling his riches is that he fails to use them in a way that shows he treasures God more than riches.
What is your relationship with your money? Who is the Master and who is the slave?
Rev. Julius Wainaina